Read Our 2021 Annual Report
At Self-Help, our environmental work focuses on supporting low-income people who are disproportionately affected by climate change and pollution. We do this by investing in organizations and entrepreneurs that create sustainable development in communities historically overlooked by the environmental movement.
We report the greenhouse gas emissions of Self-Help Credit Union and Commercial Real Estate operations and avoided emissions associated with our solar loan portfolio for Calendar Year 2021.
In 2020 we were among the first CDFIs to report on both our own footprint and also that of the commercial borrowers in our CDFI loan portfolio. 2020 Greenhouse Gas Analysis. We co-authored a guide to help other CDFIs do the same.
At Self-Help, we evaluate the social impact of all the loans we consider and make investments in sustainable energy projects and building more sustainable communities.
We work with other lenders and advocate to advance sustainability:
Our sustainability work is made possible by all of our members who trust us with their deposits and investments.
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We finance renewable energy.
We have invested over $175 million in solar development companies that are providing a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels and opportunities for economic advancement in rural communities. These installations have created 2,250 jobs in the clean-energy sector and have provided over 280 megawatts of clean energy to the grid--enough to power 53,000 homes.
"We're grateful for our partnership with Self-Help. The opportunity to build our business with a sophisticated green energy investor like Self-Help at our side is unique and exciting." - Allan Riska, Cypress Creek Renewables
We support green businesses.
We have invested over $161 million in businesses and nonprofits that have shown a commitment to sustainability and reducing their environmental impact. Our investments have financed installations of renewable power sources as well as energy, water, and resource-efficiency upgrades that allow for organizations to play an active role in minimizing their carbon footprint.
"We need financing to grow our business, but what bank would bet on a local biodiesel company? Self- Help Credit Union is that bank." - Blue Ridge Biofuels
We build efficient homes.
We have built 98 affordable, certified energy-efficient homes that guarantee heating and cooling will cost less than $40 a month. By creating affordable housing options with low, stable energy costs, we strengthen economic resilience within the communities we serve while minimizing the environmental impact of these new properties throughout their lifespan.
“The energy efficiency ratings of these homes, achieving the highest possible standards, provide the lowest monthly heating and cooling bills ... so low, in fact, that it is more economic to be a new homeowner here than to rent elsewhere.” - The Helen Adams Blog, “Agents for Change in Grier Heights"
We invest in home energy.
We have invested $41.6 million in portfolios of home energy loans, financing energy-efficiency upgrades for 4,161 households. Half these loans are originated by our partner nonprofit lender, Craft3. This partnership helps low- and moderate-income homeowners reduce energy costs and strengthen the value of their homes, all while reducing greenhouse gases.
“For more than ten years, our Home Energy Loan has helped homeowners across Oregon and Washington reduce energy use. We’re proud to expand access to credit by utilizing On-Bill Repayment, whereby a homeowner makes loan payments on their utility bill. This feature reduces risk and eliminates the up-front, out-of-pocket costs that often make upgrades unaffordable. Self-Help was a critical collaborator in this effort; their investment increased our liquidity, in turn allowing more families to access energy upgrades." - Adam Zimmerman, Craft3 President & CEO
We invest in sustainable food systems.
Community Foods Market is a full-service grocery store, health resource center and community hub that engages residents to lead healthier and more socially-connected lives. Self-Help’s $1,985,000 loan helped fund construction of the 14,000 square-foot grocery store to support the vibrant community of West Oakland.
“My vision is that Community Foods will be a platform for social innovation and the start of a sustainable food ecosystem. It was important for me to work with trustworthy lenders aligned with that mission … Self-Help is passionate about the impact this project will have on the community." - Brahm Ahmadi, co-founder and CEO of Community Foods
We help our borrowers save energy and water.
At Self-Help, we make loans to encourage economic development in the communities we serve. Whether it's through energy efficiency upgrades or installing rooftop solar, we make it a priority to find ways to help our borrowers reduce their energy burden.
“Pueblo Community Health Center designed the East Side Clinic to produce more energy than it consumes; it’s the first health care facility to achieve this in Colorado. The result will be a healthier environment and contributing to the economic vitality of the community. We are proud to be one of Pueblo’s organizations that is moving the community towards its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035." -- Donald Moor, CEO
We reduce our impact.
At Self-Help, we have learned a lot from our environmental lending and make an effort to "walk the walk" of environmental stewardship within our organization. We work hard to minimize the environmental footprint of our facilities and commercial properties by investing in efficiency upgrades, optimizing utility consumption and educating our tenants on sustainable practices. Read this article.
"Sustainability at Self-Help is, at heart, a team sport, driven by passion and commitment. We have developed a culture that constantly says yes to new ideas and new ways to pull together smart capital and measure success." - Melissa Malkin-Weber, Sustainability Director
Join us in working for a better, greener world, and learn about how you can invest with us. Contact Keisha Bolden firstname.lastname@example.org and follow our Sustainability Director on Twitter @SelfHelpGreen.
Everyday habits let us align our actions with our values. Here are some simple actions that many Self-Helpers have adopted:
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